31 August 2020 – Ant Group Files for Dual Listing to Potentially Raise $30bn

The Big Ones

Cancer test developer Freenome has closed a $270m series C round that included Novartis and existing backers GV, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Roche Venture Fund to hike its overall funding to $507m. The capital will be allocated to a clinical study for a blood test Freenome is developing for colorectal cancer screening, in addition to advancing additional oncology blood tests.

American Family Ventures was formed by insurer American Family in 2013 to invest in areas like insurance, financial services, big data and cybersecurity technology, and it’s following a recent trend by recruiting external limited partners for its latest fund. AFV Fund III has closed at $213m and its LPs will also be able to gain value through a scheme called AFV Platform that will be able to link them to portfolio companies and fellow investors.

Ant Group has officially filed for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai that could potentially raise $30bn – a figure that would equate to the largest initial public offering for a VC-backed company in history. It will reportedly now speak to underwriters and other stakeholders to determine the details of the flotations, which are expected to value it between $200bn and $300bn. Apart from Alibaba, corporates including China Post and China Life are also among its investors, both having backed it at a $60bn valuation in 2016.

Crossover: Kymeta, a US-based satellite broadband provider exploiting foundational research from Duke University, secured $85m in a funding round led by entrepreneur Bill Gates, with the backing of some of Kymeta’s leadership team. Kymeta has raised more than $282m in funding altogether, satellite operator Intelsat having contributed to a $73.5m round in 2017 together with undisclosed additional investors. Media group Liberty Global had joined Osage University Partners, Bill Gates, Lux Capital and Kresge Foundation in Kymeta’s $50m series C round in 2013. And Kymeta had already secured $12m in funding from Liberty Global, Lux Capital and Gates the year before.

Deals

Consumer companies have had a mixed at best time of it during the coronavirus pandemic but eyewear e-commerce platform Warby Parker has done quite well, raising $245m across series F and G rounds while hiking its valuation from $1.75bn in late 2018 to $3bn today. The company’s earlier investors include American Express Ventures and the latest round increased its overall funding to $535m.

Viva Republica, the creator of money management app Toss, has raised its own nine-figure round, pulling in $173m in a round that reportedly took its valuation from $2.2bn to $2.6bn. The company’s total funding now stands at $530m, its earlier investors including Novel Group, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The funding will help it grow Toss into a more diversified finance-focused app that includes financial product recommendations.

Mural, developer of an online visual collaboration platform, has closed an $118m series B round that included Slack Fund and returning backer Gradient Ventures. The round came just seven months after Mural’s series A funding, but its initial investment came all the way back in 2012 in a tiny round featuring another corporate venturing unit, Intel Capital.

Data collaboration software provider Daitaku has raised $100m in series D funding from investors including Alphabet’s CapitalG unit. The round followed a secondary investment from CapitalG in December that valued Daitaku at $1.4bn, and the company said it has maintained a unicorn valuation in the latest round. It has also now secured $246m in primary funding altogether.

Funds

This is going to be a quick one today: other than the American Family Ventures fundraiser we’ve already covered, it’s been a slow week for funds.

Exits

Things are really beginning to heat up as we pass through the summer lull to the traditional autumn rush and a good deal of activity is focused on the public markets. Chinese smart electric carmaker Xpeng has floated in the US in an upsized $1.5bn initial public offering valuing it above $21bn. Alibaba and Xiaomi were among the Xpeng investors considering buying $400m of shares in the IPO, and its backers also include Foxconn, UCar and Douwan Entertainment.

The sheer scale of Ant’s forthcoming listing casts a large shadow, enough to almost make you forget what a big story it is that data analysis provider Palantir has also filed to go public. The Relx, Fujitsu and Sompo Holdings-backed company is eschewing an IPO in favour of a direct listing, following the likes of Spotify and Slack. It was valued above $20bn in 2016 but regardless of whether it’s maintained that valuation (and there are doubts about that), it will be one of the year’s biggest listings in a year set to be full of them.

Cloud data software provider Snowflake is another hugely valued tech company to file for an initial public offering, six months after closing a $479m series G round at a valuation exceeding $12bn. Salesforce Ventures was among the participants in that round but Capital One Growth Ventures got in earlier, backing its 2017 series D at a reported $500m valuation. It isn’t among Snowflake’s largest shareholders but it should be in for a bumper exit nonetheless.

Although a lot of companies are filing for IPOs, lidar technology developer Luminar has taken a different route, agreeing to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Gores Metropoulos that will give it a Nasdaq listing and an expected valuation of $3.4bn. The deal is being boosted by $170m of financing from a syndicate including Van Tuyl Companies and Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the latter – like fellow corporates Corning and Cornes- an existing Luminar investor. Expect more of these kinds of deals, judging by the volume of SPACs entering the public markets of late.

In fact, another company to follow the SPAC route is 3D metal printer producer Desktop Metal, which will list on the New York Stock Exchange through a reverse merger with a SPAC called Trine Acquisition Corp. The combined business is set to be valued at $2.5bn, Desktop Metal having previously raised $438m from investors including Koch Industries, Alphabet, Panasonic, Techtronic Industries, Ford, Saudi Aramco, Lowe’s, BMW and Stratasys.

All these IPO and reverse merger deals have perhaps obscured the fact the M&A market seems to be doing quite well too. Fastly has agreed to buy web security application provider Signal Sciences for $200m in cash and $575m in stock, and the transaction will come after about $62m in funding. That money came from investors including O’Reilly Media’s OATV unit, which is in for a tasty exit having backed it in every round since its $2m seed funding.

Kymera Therapeutics raised almost $174m in its initial public offering on Friday, pricing its shares above their range before seeing them soar by 66% after their first day of trading. The small-molecule drug developer had previously received nearly $220m in funding from investors including corporate venturing units Amgen Ventures, Lilly Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, MRL Ventures Fund and Sanofi Ventures.

Israeli digital X-ray device developer Nano-X Imaging has also floated in the US, in a $165m IPO that scored exits for corporate investors SK Telecom, iA Financial, Foxconn and Fujifilm. The company priced its shares at the top of the range and their subsequent rise almost doubled its valuation from its last pre-IPO funding round, which closed in June this year.


“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

04 September 2017 – Expedia CEO Moves to Uber

Funds

University

OSI secures Legal & General backing

Imperial gives founders a choice

Government

Vertex pushes beyond $150m

Széchenyi gains $31m

St Louis hammers out fund details

Exits

Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive of Uber, did not waste any time in making clear his ambitions for the ride-sharing company: in an all-hands meeting ahead of officially taking over – he starts his job on Tuesday – he declared not only that he is committed to paying the bills and taking big shots to secure the company’s future, but also that he intends to take Uber public within 18 to 36 months.

Best, a supply chain services provider backed by Alibaba, Cainiao and, reportedly, Foxconn, has increased the stakes of its initial public offering by filing an updated regulatory document that puts the figure at $1bn, up from $750m.

Berry Genomics has completed its reverse merger with Shenzen-listed Chengdu Tianxing Instrument and Meter, first announced in December 2016.

Synlogic processes Mirna merger

CSL accesses Calimmune for $91m

Western Digital gets Upthere

University

Big deal: Nightstar to light up stock market

Investments

Singapore-based Grab is slowly inching towards its $2.5bn goal for a series G round that already stood at $2bn thanks to commitments from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

GoGoVan reaches for 58 Suyun

Food delivery is hotly contested sector and many of the startups involved have changed hands – be that for example TastyKhana being purchased by Food Panda, which in turn was later acquired by Delivery Hero, or Just Eat subsidiary Hellofood Brazil becoming part of iFood. Now another one is joining the list: Waimai has been acquired by Ele.me for a reported $800m (which would be down significantly from the estimated $2.5bn valuation last year).

Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, the investment vehicle of the e-commerce group’s founder Jack Ma, have put $152m into cloud computing business Qiniuyun.

Freenome, a healthtech developer has added $7m to its series A to close the round, already backed by GV, at $72m.

Armo Biosciences has added $67m to its coffers in a series C1 round that featured GV and Celgene, who both also participated in a $50m series C in February last year.

The biggest deal of the day comes from the US, where Qadium has amassed $40m in a series B round led by Institutional Venture Partners.

In China, Abcfintech has added $30m to its coffers thanks to investors such as Susquehanna International Group’s SIG Asia Investment. Abcfintech operates cloud-based AI platforms that help financial services firms visualise their data and predict the performance of public stock.

Alice, the developer of a hotel management platform, has secured $26m in series B funding from Expedia in a deal facilitated by Khosrowshahi before he stepped down to join Uber.

VideoAmp, the developer of an advertising technology platform that tracks the impact of campaigns across television, video on-demand, over-the-top and digital content, has secured $21.4m in series B capital from Mediaocean and returning backer RTL, among others.

Government

Vulog eyes $20m series B

University

CureFit exercises with $25m


“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0